Accuracy in Media

A story from the New York Times headlined “With Override Vote Coming, Congress Examines Military Cuts That Will Fund Wall” failed to find members of Congress — Democrats or Republicans — that disapproved of Trump’s push for border spending.

The story rounds up the news – that Congress plans to vote today on whether to override President Trump’s veto of Congress’ disapproval of his declaring a national emergency at the border to obtain wall funding.

“Now that members of Congress can see the potential impact this proposal could have on projects in their home states, I hope they will take that into consideration before the vote to override the president’s veto,” Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) said.

First-term Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) said he could not support the president’s emergency declaration, then changed his mind and voted for it. He is now under attack from the North Carolina state Democratic Party for “putting ‘his political career ahead of the well-being’ of local military families.” The story notes that a fundraising email based on this vote raised double the average amount from such appeals.

But the rest is devoted to finding people who can claim to be aggrieved by Trump’s decision to move funds from military construction projects on bases in North Carolina and Kentucky to the border wall and trying to get them to complain about the resulting hardships – without much luck.

“The main road that connects a strip of tattoo parlors, pawn shops and restaurants to Camp Lejeune is still lined with broken trees bent by Hurricane Florence’s winds,” wrote Emily Cochrane and Thomas Gibbons-Neff in the lead to their story. “Inside the gates, a new threat has arisen for the sprawling Marine Corps base as it contends with billions of dollars in hurricane damage and lingering effects of contaminated water: President Trump’s border wall.”

Trump wants to “siphon military funds from projects like Camp Lejeune’s reconstruction to build a wall on the Mexican border,” the Times wrote.

“Last month, Democrats appealed to Republicans – with only limited success – to vote down the president’s emergency on the lofty grounds of constitutional prerogative and Congress’ control of federal spending. This time, on the veto override, their appeal is more parochial: Look where the wall money will come from.”

The Times reported that “In Jacksonville, there is discomfort among residents that money for Camp Lejeune’s projects could be delayed for a wall more than a thousand miles away,” but the closest the Times came to a quote in support of its thesis came from Monique Gibbs, a local, who said, “What may seem small is large to others.”

It found a local defense contractor to say he once “doubted the ‘financial feasibility’ of Trump’s signature campaign promise, but he also was resigned to a local hit.”

“’I hate to make it so nonchalant,’” the man told the Times. “’A building or two may fall down before they get repaired. But we’re a resilient type.’”

The Times also tried to find Republicans to criticize Tillis. But what it got was “I’m glad he changed his mind; he was going to catch flak for that either way he went,” from a 68-year-old woman in Wayne County, and “We put him in office because he’s going to help the Republican Party. The fact that he had a change of heart shows that he reflected back on why he’s there. He’s not there to thwart what we’re trying to accomplish,” from a local chiropractor.

What about losing money for local military projects? “It’s not the best,” the chiropractor said. But “I think we would give that up to do the greater good.”

This proved a coast-to-coast outlook. The Times mentioned a town hall with Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers, R-Wash., in which McMorris Rogers said she voted against the emergency declaration because of the issue with congressional approval of spending, not opposition to the wall.

“I appreciate your vote, but I disagree,” said one attendee. “There’s a lot of people fighting against it. Where are the people fighting for it?”

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